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PWHPA Player Roundup: July 24

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The announcements start coming and they don’t stop coming — or an overview of the players new to the PWHPA in 2020-21

Michelle Jay

The ranks of the PWHPA have grown even larger the past two weeks, with over 20 new commitments to the organization. We’re here to provide you with an introduction to the association’s newcomers, as well as a brief reminder about the returning players’ participation in the last season of action.

Ella Shelton, defender, Clarkson University

Anyone familiar with the NCAA or with Hockey Canada knows the name Ella Shelton, and for good reason — she cemented herself as one of the most crucial pieces of the Golden Knights’ blue line, and has made a name for herself as the future of the Canadian back end. Shelton has 108 points to her name after finishing up her four years in the NCAA, which is no small task for a defender. She’s also incredibly reliable in her own end, with a list of accolades too long for this short snippet. Rest assured, though, that she’s earned all-ECAC honors every single year of eligibility with Clarkson, and doesn’t plan on slowing down as she launches the next chapter of her career with the PWHPA.

Cristine Chao, defender, University of Toronto

Cristine Chao has had a very solid career with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, earning all-league honors every single year during her collegiate tenure and was even named OUA Defender of the Year during her final two years with the squad. She’s been a play maker since her first year, when she earned both OUA and CIS all-rookie honors, and led the team’s defenders in scoring with 16 assists in addition to establishing herself as a reliable blue liner. Chao’s most impressive game this past season came in a midseason match-up against Waterloo, when she tallied a career high two goals in one game to lead the Varsity Blues to victory.

Samantha Donovan, forward, Minnesota Whitecaps

After being selected fifth overall in the 2017 NWHL Draft by the Connecticut Whale, Donovan went on to suit up for seven games for the Pod before making the leap half across the country to play for the Whitecaps, where she competed in six contests. In total, she’s only suited up in 13 professional games after the close of her collegiate career with Brown, so it makes sense that she’s electing for a different professional option heading into the 2020-21 season. Her first professional goal came this past year in her final game of the season against her former team in Minnesota’s 6-3 win over the Whale.

Christina Ierardi, forward, ESC Planegg (Frauen-Bundesliga)

Christina Ierardi joins the PWHPA after two very prolific seasons with ESC Planegg in Germany. She ranked third on the team in points with 36 and second on the team in goals with 19, and posted identical numbers in her debut season in Germany as well. Ierardi embarked on the professional route overseas after a strong four years with the Brock University Badgers, whose scoresheet she dominated during each of her seasons.

Delaney Belinskas, forward, Boston College

The Riveters’ second round draft pick Delaney Belinskas will be continuing her career with the PWHPA for the 2020-21 season. While at Boston College, she registered impressive point totals, even leading the Eagles in goals (20) her senior season while on a roster stacked with international talents like Hannah Bilka and Kelly Browne. Her career high in points came in her freshman season, but it’d be wrong to say her production has been slacking since then, as she’s consistently posted upwards of 20 points in her last two seasons.

Michelle Jay

Taytum Clairmont, forward, Univ. of Waterloo (U SPORTS)

A forward out of Waterloo, Ontario, Taytum Clairmont spent three full seasons with Northeastern before transferring to the University of Waterloo to finish out her hockey and academic careers. While a member of the Huskies squad, Clairmont was a reliable defensive forward, registering middle six points (13-24—37 over 110 GP) while also tallying team high numbers of blocks for forwards in each of her seasons. After her transfer to Waterloo, she moved into a bigger role with the Warriors, posting nearly 18 points her first season and 28 her second.

As always, there are a number of players returning to the organization that competed in showcases or made their affiliation known during the 2019-20 season — we’ve outlined who they are and their participation in the organization’s events below.

  • Jenna Dingeldein, participated in two showcases
  • Margo Lund, participated in two showcases
  • Meaghan Mikkelson, participated in four showcases
  • Megan Myers, participated in three showcases
  • Jessie Eldridge, participated in three showcases
  • Annie Pankowski, participated in two showcases, the ECHL All-Star Game, and the NHL All-Star Game
  • Kristen Richards, participated in two showcases
  • Geneviève Lacasse, participated in four showcases
  • Melanie Desrochers, participated in three showcases
  • Savannah Harmon, participated in four showcases
  • Rhianna Kurio, participated in one showcase
  • Carolyne Prévost, participated in two showcases
  • Alexa Gruschow, participated in four showcases
  • Sydney Kidd, participated in two showcases
  • Sarah Lefort, participated in four showcases
  • Iya Gavrilova, participated in one showcase
  • Jamie Lee Rattray, participated in four showcases
  • Jetta Rackleff, participated in two showcases
  • Rebecca Leslie, participated in four showcases